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Ceremonies mark Rwanda genocide

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his wife Jeannette Kagame, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker light the flame of remembrance at the Kigali Genocide Memorial during the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi, in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on April 7, 2019. () Xinhua/Office of the President of Rwanda

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda began a week of solemn ceremonies on Sunday to commemorate the lives of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus murdered during the Rwandan genocide, a three-month-killing spree that began 25 years ago.

President Paul Kagame laid a wreath at the Gisozi genocide memorial site, where over a quarter a million of people are buried, before an afternoon of speeches and song. Later, a candelit vigil was held in the packed national soccer stadium.

“There is no way to fully comprehend the loneliness and anger of survivors and yet over and over again we have asked them to make the sacrifices necessary to give our nation new life. Emotions had to be put in a box,” Mr Kagame said, his tall, thin form projected onto television screens around the nation.

“We are far better Rwandans than we were. But we can be even better still. We are the last people in the world who should succumb to complacency.”

The 100 days of slaughter began on April 6, 1994, after President Juvenal Habyarimana and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi – both Hutus – were killed when their plane was shot down over the Rwandan capital. The attackers have never been identified.

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